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Nearsightedness Is on the Rise and Computers May Be to Blame

You Are What You See

We are just beginning to understand how working on a computer all day long is detrimental to the body. From wrist pain to weight gain, staring at a screen all day long has been fingered as the culprit, and now it appears we can add eye problems to the list: nearsightedness is on the rise.

Nearsightedness, clinically referred to as myopia, means that objects in close range appear normal, but objects at a distance are blurry. According to the National Eye Institute, around 41 percent of Americans are now myopic, up from 25 percent in the early '70s. The most popular theory for the steep rise in nearsightedness is that more and more people are doing "close work" at computers and desks, and more and more people, children included, are spending their free time with digital devices from Game Boys to iPhones. Others think we may be becoming genetically more susceptible to the condition, correctable with lenses or surgery.

Regardless of the reason, give your eyes break. Take a walk outside and look out into the distance. Do you wear glasses? Are you nearsighted or far?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I'm the first one in my family to need glasses before the age of 60...but I'm also the only one who has done schooling past college and have a computer. Mine was definitely not genetic.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
My nearsightedness is totally genetic as well. I've worn glasses ever since I can remember...about age 1, I guess. Both of my parents are nearsighted as well and have been for as long as they can remember, so I highly doubt computers caused any of it.
rbaech rbaech 7 years
Grr, I despise this myth. For computers to impact vision in this way, the lens of the eye would have to be incredibly inflexible. Generations before us looked at things closely - think of pioneer women doing needlework by smoky candlelight, or jewelers in any era, or artists - and yes, some of them did this 8 hours a day or more. Myopia is primarily genetic, and these days we forget that when we see two glasses-free parents (wearing contacts, of course) with a "mysteriously" myopic child. Additionally, our testing has improved significantly, and so people who would have previously gone their entire lives with a passable but myopic view are now handed frames. These days, even if you pass the Snelling chart, an optometrist can measure the refractive index of the eye and prescribe a light lens - there you go, someone's myopic. I've worn glasses since I was nine years old, and still remember the surprise of seeing that trees had individual leaves.
Zigggy Zigggy 7 years
I wear glasses to see far away and my eyesight is absolutley deteriorating- I work at a computer all day. I used to be able to read my screen without my glasses on but now I need them :( kelkooshoe- make sure that at least every 20 minutes you look away from your screen and focus on something far away. Better yet- get up and walk around for a bit while focusing on further away things. If you do wear glasses- try not to wear them all the time. My best friend and I had the exact same vision in high school but I wear glasses all the time and she rarely wears them- only for tv & driving. My eyesight is waaay worse than hers now- hers has hardly changed :( I wish I knew back then what I know now.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I think mine is from reading too much and computers. I had 20/16 vision up through highschool. When I entered college and got my first computer, my vision started to deteriorate. By the time I was a senior, I had to squint when sitting at the back of the class to see what was on the chalkboard. I didn't think anything of it though until in grad school, I was struggling to drive home at night in a rainstorm and realized that I couldn't see anything on the road - it was all blurry. I went in and found out I needed glasses and that I have Astigmatism. I just wish I had found out earlier I needed glasses, instead of all those years squinting - I have a big crease on my nose right between my eyes, and squint lines around my eyes and on my forehead now!
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
my nearsightedness is genetic, so i don't thik the overuse of compters pertains to me.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
cna't see*. sorry.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
i'm near sighted. i didn't get glasses until i was a sophmore in high school and my algebra teacher said "you have very pretty eyes but you can see worth shit." and people one why i hate math. lol. then again, all those times reading books by flashlight and staying up late playing computer games like Medal of Honor, Ghost Recon, etc. in the dark, didn't help my eyes either.
kelkooshoe kelkooshoe 7 years
I have to work on a computer all days long and I am worring about my eyes! what can I do?
Ajh Ajh 7 years
My vision actually improved throughout highschool and college, even with years of heavy computer use. I was born nearsighted though. Much as I hate to suggest it, maybe the increase in nearsightedness is due to our aging population? Both my parents had perfect vision, neither use computers much at all, but as they got older their vision went a little off and now, at 50 and 55, they both wear glasses.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
Using my computer endlessly during my senior year at high school made me far sighted. :S Now after two years of having my face stuck in the screen of my laptop for uni, I pretty much can't see anything without my specs. Oh yeah, my desktop keyboard also gave me RSI. I love computers! :p
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